Call me blasphemous, but we owe the travel gods some kind of sacrificial offering. Perhaps in the form of some delicious BBQ lamb.
We made it to the island of Santorini. While that may not sound like too much of an accomplishment, I assure you, it is.
We left Bari, Italy at 20:00 on the 23rd. This was booked in advance. The sail over was fine. We played euchre until the wee hours of the morning with some fine young gents from Toronto. The boat arrived at 12:30 the next day at the port of Patras.
This is when things get interesting. In order to make it to our 19:00 ferry from Piraeus to Santorini, we needed to pick up tickets for this ferry in downtown Athens by 17:00. Our shuttle from Patras left at 13:00. That leaves us exactly 4 hours to get from Patras to downtown Athens, and then an additional 1.5 hours to get from there to the Pireaus port to board half an hour before we sail. Some things to factor in -
Though we don't speak Italian, there's enough we understand to get by. Greek, on the other hand is completely foreign, both spoken and written. We weren't even sure we were asking people to get us to the correct place.
Buses and boats rarely run on time. The Fact that they did is a minor miracle. However, when your bus driver stops for an impromptu break at a service station outside Athens at 15:15, you start to panic a little. Especially when he gives people 10 minutes... We knew it was going to be longer than that.
Our stars aligned, however. All Greek street signs had English translations. That in itself would have been enough, but our bus transfer dropped us off a mere 5 minute walk from the office we needed to find (it was actually a 10 minute walk, but only because we went the wrong way at first!). We got to the office with a very comfortable 15 minutes to spare.
Once we scooped up our tickets, our ability to navigate a big city and its metro system quickly kicked in, and we were able to reach the port with an hour cushion.
The last moment of fear came on the boat, when it was realized that we had informed our shuttle that we would be arriving at 00:05, when in fact it turned out to be 00:50 (Graham will get tested for dyslexia when he gets home).
Luckily, Vassilis - the owner of hotel Anastasia, where we're staying - is the nicest Greek man we have ever met (Sorry to any of our Greek friends... You're wonderful people too!). He was there with a sign with our name on it, waiting to take your weary travelers to their final destination on this leg of the adventure.
And so it came to pass that the Duench's who trekked across Europe in 2011 made it to the Greek island of Santorini.
And it's lovely thus far.
5 days to go...
P.S. If anyone is following on the
map that is connected to the blog, I have no idea why it shows that we posted our last entry from northern Australia. Though we'd love to go there someday, I assure you we're still well within the confines of Europe. :-)